Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Babblers unite!

The Babblers
(by R.P.Edwards)

Those with mental issues
Talking…to the air
Holding conversations
With people…who aren’t there
We used to see them coming
These troubled
And alone
But now they’re hard to pick out
For the babblers on...the phone

The producer leaned back in his posh Mayline Ultimo and, with the fingers of his right hand slowly drumming the mahogany desk (index to pinkie, and then pinkie to index), he (head slightly tilted to the side), paused a moment (looking at the twenty something intern who normally was seen scooting about with files, or sandwiches, but was allowed--as a courtesy before departure--a brief conference with the “captain”) and asked the question.

“Okay, Zak, what you got?”


“Settle down, Zak. (a slight pause as the young man nodded and gathered himself) Now tell me, how long have you been here?”

“Six months…s..sir.”

[to intercom] “Alice, bring Zack one of those French vanilla things that you like." "Alright, son, now, take a deep breath…and let it fly.”

“Mr. Realismo, reality shows are big.  But, as we both know, they’re not really…reality.” [Alice floats in and hands the student a frothing Styrofoam cup and places a steaming monikered mug of Black on the desk] The twenty-year old sips, and continues.  “I mean--and I know you know this--that the element of the camera, and the lighting, and the production team, well…well, they have to influence, even if it’s subconsciously…the participants.”

“So,” the other stops his drumming and picks up the mug, placing it on his slightly protruding middle, “so what do you suggest?  Something like that Jim Carrey movie, “The Truman Show,” where the whole world is wired?”

“Well, yes…and no.  I mean…here’s what I mean.  Say, for example we shake things up, just a little.  Take for instance…our technology dependency (the young man had been noticing the intermittent bleeping of the boss's cell-phone [signifying text messages]), we could, we could, say, find someone who is so addicted to, say, their smart phone, and then, carefully, stealthily, cause it to…fail.  (He leans forward) And it will fail when they're in a position that they can’t get a quick fix.  In other words; they'll have to get by without it! Well…I think…I think it could be interesting…even funny.  And, since there’s no visible production…well…that would be real ‘reality.’”

The producer takes a sip, places his cup next to the picture of his teenage daughter, Lisa, and, turning it for Zak to see, he then pulls up his phone and shows the lad that his needy child has already sent him, this a.m., ten text messages.  “Zak,” he says, taking another sip, "it’s been done a million times.  The most famous being the old show, “Candid Camera.” But…I like it.  And, I think I know who we can use for our first show.  Now…give me your ideas.”

Yes, the cell phone.  The other day as I traveled my "nearly personal" way home [traveling by car is impersonal.  Walking, is personal (i.e. most likely for personal interaction) and biking is…nearly personal.]  Anyway, I was cruising along and there was this fellow; rather unkempt, shabbily dressed, a wild expression on his face and…and…he was audibly talking…to someone...who wasn't visibly present.  I deduced, “Not all there.”  Be it drugs, or perhaps a mental condition, or a combination, he was somewhere...outside the norm.

Now, the next day or so--again in the near-personal mode--I saw another fellow; not as unkempt, not wild eyed, but also talking…to someone.  I pondered for a moment and came to the conclusion…one of those blasted phone-in-the-ear things.  This guy was most likely talking on the go and couldn’t be bothered with a hand-held phone.  But...I could have been totally both cases.

So there we are.  Our difficult lives; where we must make snap judgments on the fly; has just become…more complicated.  And, added to the mix, "I" sometimes like to pray…out loud.  So the casual observer--in the personal or near-personal mode-- may, upon seeing me, ask, “Mental imbalance?  One of those blasted ear-phones? Or maybe a religious…nut?  Heaven help us.”


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